Monday, July 31, 2017


     That we have a crisis in world leadership is no secret.

     Too many leaders seem to be in the position for all the wrong reasons.  Too many leaders are in the game for power. They like the personal power. They have biases that they wish to pursue. Very few seem to get it that they are to serve the population and see that the country's resources benefit the people of the state. Very few leaders seem to think that they should be nice and cooperate with other world leaders so that we have peace and prosperity.

     There are so many good and pleasant things for leaders to do that one wonders why it's not done.

     World events in the last week or ten days have got me thinking about leadership and how warped it has become.

     It's hard to understand why North Korea is so desperately worried that they are unsafe and will be attacked unless it's used by the leader to hold and consolidate power. Saber rattling makes for many very unhappy neighbors.

    The weekend's election in Venezuela doesn't look like there will be any positive outcome for a long time. Once opposition leaders are being killed it doesn't look promising.

   The situation in Turkey seems to be going from bad to worse. Again somebody is dreadfully afraid that he might lose power so the laws are changed so that it's easier to hold power.

    President Trump seems to have very little inclination to help the American people. Well, he makes claims that he will help them but nothing much has happened or will happen. Trump is too tied up in other issues which are not on the agenda of helping American people. Trump has many other world leaders worried. As a Canadian, I know I'm worried.

     I haven't mentioned the insane situation in Syria.

    Now I've used five examples that took place in the recent past. There are many more very ineffective world leaders.

    What has happened that we have world leaders with so little capacity to see that they are to serve the people?

Saturday, July 29, 2017


     July is an interesting time of year to watch Red squirrels.  As I said in my last post they are setting up territory and there's some competition. Sometimes the competitions are a bit odd.

     I do my stretching so that I can look out my front room window. I have a bird feeder out in the front yard so it gives me a few minutes to watch the bird feeder and anything else that happens.

     So a few days ago an event took place. For some reason a Red squirrel was harassing a magpie. The squirrel would chase the magpie and the magpie would just keep ahead of the squirrel. There seemed to be a half dozen short sprints where the squirrel pursued the magpie. The magpie would hide under  car and as soon as he came out the squirrel would chase.

    Now a few years ago I saw a different squirrel magpie confrontation. This time there were two magpies and they had a Red squirrel cornered. The squirrel was on the tree trunk and one magpie was above and the other one below the squirrel. The squirrel wanted to gain the branches of the tree where it would be safe. The magpies were hoping the squirrel would make just one mistake and they would have lunch. The squirrel shifted from one side of the tree to another. He couldn't get up or down.

    Finally the squirrel took a leap from the tree trunk and set off across the yard and street. The magpies flew above the squirrel, but as long as they were in the air the squirrel was safe. The squirrel ran under a fence and it threw the magpies off their game. They just thought the squirrel somehow disappeared and didn't realize the squirrel was on the other side of the fence.

   So the squirrel magpie competition goes both ways.

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Photo by Bill Heinsen


Wednesday, July 26, 2017


      Now let me get one thing off my chest . I hate squirrels. In particular I hate Red squirrels. With these two sentences I've just lost some friends or else I'll hear about things.

      Where was I? Red squirrels are nasty little beggars. I've had resident squirrels for around ten years. Mother Red squirrel establishes a territory in July and has a litter the next April. Mother squirrel leaves the territory once the litter has become independent. One of her daughters takes over the territory. In other words , every year I get a new female squirrel.

      So for the year I have my female squirrel she makes life miserable for me. She helps herself to my bird seed. That's the worst. She drops spruce cones all over the place. Some get very territorial and think that they should chase me away from my house. Some chew holes in things on my yard.

      I keep covers in a wooden shed to cover plants when there's danger of frost. One fall I kept seeing bits of blanket spread around. I was too dumb to figure out that the squirrel was entering the shed and taking material to make a nest. To top it off the same squirrel made a nest in the blankets in the shed to have and raise her litter. I accidentally discovered the nest when I went in that part of the shed and a nasty squirrel came out of nowhere and made a fast exit from the shed.

     So last week I observed two red squirrels competing for territory. I noticed two squirrels keeping on opposite sides of a tree and then they would chase around the yard. Back to the tree. Same game. Out in the yard and chase some more. Finally one squirrel made it up the tree and out tho the end of a branch. Dumb move! Second squirrel raced to the end of the branch and there was a lightning speed fight. One squirrel fell out of the branch . (15 ft.) At that point the chase ended.

    So two females were competing for territory.

     Sorry , no photos of this fight.

    Now Red squirrels may be cute and interesting to watch but I still hate them. Does anybody want a free Red Squirrel? Do I have any followers left?

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Photo by Angela McLean Cormier

Sunday, July 23, 2017


     We've had a very interesting summer as far as weather is concerned. We've had two wind storms that did major damage. It's been dry and it's been hot. Oh yes, did I tell you we had damaging hail about 10 days ago?

     Today was a hot muggy (25 C) ( 80 F)  day. About 3:00PM there were shower clouds forming  in the west. There was a thunder storm warning. The clouds developed and there was lots of thunder by 5:00PM.

     I stayed outside to watch the thunder and lightning. I came in the house and foolishly predicted that I didn't think we'd get any rain.

     Well, it did rain. 8/10 of an inch in 30 min. But there was hail and lots of hail. Most of it was marble size. As you can see my garden is trashed. Some of it will come back.

     We have a storm sewer problem and the water backs up in our street. Terry Willoughby , my neighbor, has supplied photos or the truth is I stole them from Terry!!! Don't tell him.

       My house is on the left.
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    My house is the brick house on the right. The storm sewer cannot handle the volume of water so it backs up and forms a lake. So you see I have a lake front house! Almost a house in the lake.
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Wednesday, July 19, 2017


      At the present time there are many wildfires in British Columbia, the province to the west of us. At one time they said there were 176 fires burning. It's been hot, dry and windy... so perfect  conditions for wildfires.

      About 40000 people have been ordered out of their homes and 15000 more are on standby. Some homes and property have been burned.

      The area ranges from heavy bush to open range land and then there are farming areas in the river valleys. 

      So it's challenging for firefighter and residents. There's no relief in sight at the present time.

      Now I live about  600 km from the fires. We've had westerly winds so the smoke has blown into Alberta. Air quality rates from 3 -10. Now the smoke is quite high.

      I live midway between Edmonton and Calgary.

Affected area map

     I took these photos from my yard just a few minutes before 7:00 PM. The sky is not cloudy. The dullness is caused by smoke. I was just lucky to get the sun in my photo as you couldn't see it on the viewfinder.